Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
January 3rd, 2014 by Joel Watts

Review: The Courageous Gospel: Resources for Teachers, Students, and Preachers of the Fourth Gospel

Robert Hill, Dean of the Chapel and Professor of New Testament and Pastoral Theology at Boston University School of Theology, has with everyone in mind written a marvelous introduction to not only the Gospel of John itself but so too to recent scholarship on the Fourth Gospel. I was pleasantly surprised to see such a balanced view and presentation of critical scholarship around the Gospel of John while maintaining what appears to be a faithful commitment to certain theological tenets. 

The book is clearly a designed to be a textbook, but one cleverly disguised as something infinitely more usable. It is divided into four parts. The first part serves as a theological introduction, introducing the book and the scope of the scholarship. In here, we find that while Hill has written the majority of the book, he has included essays from others. Part Two is a dual commentary and autobiographical attempt at marking Hill’s interaction with the Gospel of John. Here, we are introduced to lectures, sermons, and even presentations by such Johannine luminaries as Raymond Brown. Part Three tackles various scholarly issues as well as propositions presented by various scholars, such as the aforementioned Brown and J. Louis Martyn. We are also given a short brief on Hill’s thesis as to the course of John. The final part includes theological summaries as well as examinations for a graduate level Johannine class.

What started off as a “why do I need this book” quickly became “why wasn’t this book given to me before.” I am currently working  a Ph.D. in the Fourth Gospel. This book is a welcomed addition to that work. As a small group leader, this book is equally accessible to the lay reader and will serve as a fine addition in lesson planning. Finally, for preachers, it helps to connect the Church and the Academy is a fashion honoring both.

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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